ST and USound to to make first MEMS speakers for mobiles

February 23, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Miniaturized thin-film piezo-electric-MEMS actuators will build micro-speakers that offer better sound quality and efficiency, according to STMicroelectronics and audio company USound GmbH, who have announced their collaboration on the industrialization and production of the world’s first MEMS actuators for smart audio systems in portable devices.

The patented micro-speaker technology from USound aims to replace commonly used balanced-armature and electrodynamic receivers for handsets with a small piezo-MEMS actuator. Manufactured using ST’s thin-film piezo-electric (TFP) technology, these actuators will improve scalability and cost while assuring lower power consumption and heat dissipation in “hearables” and smartphones devices, without compromising audio quality.

 

“USound’s technology and the transition to piezo-MEMS actuators will bring semiconductor reliability, manufacturing efficiencies and – most importantly to the consumer – sound improvements to portable devices,” said Anton Hofmeister, Vice President and GM of MEMS Microactuators Division, STMicroelectronics. “The announcement is a further step by ST, the worldwide leader in consumer and mobile sensors, to expand our MEMS portfolio by leveraging our valuable actuation technology to address large market opportunities with high barriers to entry.”

 

“...ST is the ideal partner to bring this never-seen-before technology to the market,” said Ferruccio Bottoni, CEO of USound. “Compared to standard speakers, our piezo-MEMS devices offer unprecedented mechanical precision, improving audio reproduction fidelity and device reliability in very thin form factors. As the first-of-its-kind device, our MEMS “Moon” speaker targets earphone applications, bringing superior performance to the audio world at a competitive price.”

 

STMicroelectronics; www.st.com

 

USound GmbH is an audio start-up, founded with the mission of developing and producing the most advanced audio systems for mobile applications based on MEMS technology; www.usound.com